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Extended trip to Solovki 3 days/2nights

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Solovetsky monastery.
Solovetsky monastery.
This tour program is designed for those who would like to experience Russian North, learn more about the history of these places and enjoy nature and silence.
These small islands in the White Sea absorbed the whole history of Russia: war with the Swedes, Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great times, old-believers, the Solovetsky Camp of Special Purpose (SLON) testing ground for Gulag labour camps.

Itinerary:

21.24 night train from St. Petersburg

Rabocheostrovsk. Film setting for the film ¨Island¨ by Pavel Lungin
Rabocheostrovsk. Film setting for the film ¨Island¨ by Pavel Lungin
Day1

10.45 am Arrival at Kem train station

Transfer to Rabocheostrovsk Port (15-20 min drive). The driver will be meeting you  with a sign Bridge to Moscow

12.30 boat departure for Bolshoi Solovetski island
Boarding  starts at 12.00

2.30 pm Transfer to the hotel (15 min)

4pm-7 pm Tour of the monastery which strikes with its fortification walls made of huge stones.

Dinner at the hotel (Included)


Day 2
Breakfast at the hotel
Pick up from the hotel for the boat and driving tour of the island

Canal  boat tour
Canal boat tour
Boat tour along canals
The system of canals which linked the numerous lakes  of the island and provided fresh water to the monastery was build in the 16th century if the times of Philip Kolychev, the father Superior of the monastery. The boat trip will help you to imagine the grandiose scale of this project.
The boat can accommodate up to 5 people so that you can take turns to row.  This is a great way to explore flora and fauna of the island and even to swim on a warm day.
 Duration: 2-2,5 hours

Sekirnaya Hill known for punishment cell during Gulag times.
Sekirnaya Hill known for punishment cell during Gulag times.
Solovki driving tour.
On this driving tour you will be taken to the north of the island, Sekirnaya Hill, the highest point of the island where a 19th century church of Ascension is located. It is unique as it was built as a lighthouse which is still operational. You will enjoy the panoramic view of the island, waters of the White Sea and Savatiy Hermitage. In the times of Gulag Sekirnaya Hill was the punishment cell where prisoners were tortured and executed. This tragic story can not be but told.
Later you will have a stop at  Botanical garden where monks of the monastery used to grow watermelons and grapes in severe climate of the island located 60 km from the Arctic circle. Even in the times of Solovetsky Camp of Special Purpose referred as SLON these gardens were in use and prominent botanists worked here.
 Stop at Philipov's fish traps- man-made dam which separates the sea bay to keep fish such as herring and cod fresh.
Tour duration: 3,5-4 hours
This tour can be extended to 8 hours to cover more sights of the Island: Savtyev Hermitage, bathhouses and a dam.

Dinner at the hotel ( included)
Overnight  in a hotel


Day 3
Breakfast at the hotel
Zaitsky Island
Zaitsky Island
Zaitsky island boat tour
It will take 15-20 min to reach Zaitsky island by a speed  boat. On the tour you will walk through the island which is about 2 sq km along the boardwalk. The island has quite different landscape from Bolshoy Solovetsky. It is covered with moss, small bushes and tiny birth trees, not higher than a 1 meter. The only inhabitants of this island are hares, foxes, mice, polar gulls,eiders and skuas.  During the tour you will arrive at the first stone harbour of the 16th century, try to reveal the secrets of prehistoric stone labyrinths, see the church of Andrew the First-Called built by ship carpenters by the order of Peter the Great.
 Tour duration: 2,5 hours

Lunch is not included. You can go to the monastery canteen for lunch to feel like a pilgrim. Food is rather simple there but very tasty  and cheap.

3.20 pm transfer from the hotel to the port

4 pm departure to Rabocheostrovsk

6pm upon arrival transfer to the train station.

21.24 night train to St. Petersburg
Arrival at St. Petersburg train station ( Ladozhskaya) at 10.45 next day

Important:
The weather conditions are quite changing on Solovetsky islands. The sequence of the tour itinerary might be changed due to weather conditions.

Optional trip to Anzer Island
This day  you can plan a trip to Anzer Island, the second largest in the archipelago. The trip takes approximately 12 hours ( 8 hours walking - 12 km and 2 hours by a speed boat one way). There is no port, electricity or modern buildings on the island. In the 17 -18th centuries the first hermitages appeared on the island which you will visit during the tour.  You will learn about  monastery, camp and modern life of this island.

Solovetsky monastery is the place of joy and sorrow
Solovetsky monastery is the place of joy and sorrow
The tour program can be easily customized depending on your interests and preferences. Excursions and tours can be swapped and some optional tours can be added to make the program more intense. It is also possible to extend the tour up to 7 days. If  you are a keen cyclist, a  multiple-day cycling tour can be offered with nights in a tent.
Tour season: June- August
This tour is better to book in advance since there are not so many hotels/home stays on the island, boat tickets and train tickets are sold out rather quickly.

Any optional tours are also better to plan in advance to make sure English- speaking tour is available.



Included:
  • train tickets from  St. Petersburg to Kem and back ( Kupe compartment for 4 people)
  • transfers from Kem train station to the port and back
  • boat  tickets from Rabocheostrovsk to Solovetsky island and back
  • transfer to the hotel and back
  • 2 nights stay at the hotel with breakfast
  • 2 dinners at the hotel
  • all tours (walking, boat, driving) are with a private English-speaking guide according to the program
  •  transportation according to the programm

 Excluded:
  • meals which are not indicated in the programm
  • optional tours
  • personal expenses

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